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TV BTR Nacional

Ul. "Lazar Licenovski" 31 b, 1000 Skopje, Macedonia
Tel: ++ 389 2 110 - 356; ++ 389 2 112 - 240; Fax: ++ 389 2 121 - 322
e-mail: btr@osi.net.mk 

PROJECT PROPOSAL: IMPROVING TV BTR NACIONAL'S SITUATION

  • SUMMARY

TV BTR Nacional is a private Romani TV station, situated in Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. As a private station, TV BTR Nacional finances itself from advertisement. However, considering the economic situation in Macedonia, and especially considering the fact that this is a Romani TV station, TV BTR Nacional is not in a position to cover all expenses with incomes from the advertising. Therefore, we have to look for grants from foundations, which will help us to cover the main expenses related to the work of the TV station.

The project proposal "Improving TV BTR Nacional's situation" addresses the needs that the TV station has in 2001 and which it cannot cover on its own.

  • BACKGROUND

Established in 1992, TV BTR Nacional was the first Roma TV station worldwide that was broadcasting a daily 24-hour program. Over the years the TV station has developed and has improved in quality.

Our primary goal has been to develop an informative structure that will serve for the media needs of Roma people in the Republic of Macedonia. Today we can say that we have succeeded in realizing our goal and we have become a serious informative center. Today we broadcast daily news on various topics, as well as programs covering the areas of music, health, education, social issues, many cultural events concerning Roma people, etc.

As a Romani TV station our target audience is the Roma population – most of the broadcast program is in Romani language. But we broadcast a program for the majority population as well, and this program is aired in Macedonian language. By doing this we are on the one hand trying to improve the educative and the cultural level of the Roma population, and on the other to introduce the Roma to the majority, so we are making our own contribution in reducing the ethnical tensions.

Considering the fact that Macedonia is a relatively new state, it has been undergoing some very complex processes that accompany this transitional period. One of the problems that everyone in Macedonia is faced with is the bad economic situation, and the TV station is not an exception. Therefore the advertisements cannot cover everything that comes out from our own production and we have to look out for foundations that can help us in realizing all our ideas.

But still we are continuing our work and with a lot of hard work we are achieving positive results. One of the bigger successes is a Second prize that TV BTR Nacional won in 2000, at the 16th "Golden Beggar" Festival organized in Kosice, Slovakia. There, the documentary "What is a childhood" in TV BTR Nacional's production won the second prize in a competition of more than 100 programs produced by almost 50 local TV stations from 16 countries, which were screened at the festival. TV BTR Nacional was the only representative from Macedonia, and the documentary was the only Romani production screened at the festival.

Developing our TV program more and more is the most important job for us. We are planning to continue our work as a Roma Television and we are going to give our best in order to contribute for solving some of the Roma related problems.

  • RATIONALITY OF THE PROJECT – DESCRIPTION OF THE EXISTING PROBLEMS

TV BTR Nacional is one of many media in Macedonia. TV BTR is a commercial Romani TV station and we have a legal license for broadcasting our TV program. We broadcast our program on a local level, covering the area of Skopje and its wider surrounding. However, the license itself and the specific target population are by no means a secure precondition for positive financial working.

Considering the broadcasting license, there are many media in Macedonia that are broadcasting their TV program without a license. For the time being the Government is doing little to shut them down. These media are a very disloyal competition, as they are selling their advertisement services for dumping prices. Because of this we have to sell our advertisement services for a very low price as well.

An additional problem is that TV BTR Nacional is a Romani TV station and our target audience is the Roma population. We have a hard time convincing the commercial firms that it is in their interest to advertise in our program. For example the car sellers are not advertising at TV BTR Nacional because they think that our target population is poor and that there are no potential customers among them.

The mentioned two problems are not the only ones, but they may be the biggest ones, to which others are added. TV BTR Nacional does not have its own studio and offices – we are paying a rent for the place where the TV station is situated. Until last year (2000) we were renting a transmitter. Somehow, by taking loans, we have managed to by our own second-hand transmitter at the end of the year. The TV equipment that we are using is SVHS technique; we only have one DVCAM camera and one DVCAM recorder, which are not enough, as the modern way of living and the competition among the media request the DVCAM as an improvement in the media business.

Employment is a further problem. TV BTR Nacional has 15 people working at the TV station full-time. Another 5 are working part-time. Because of the high taxes on the salaries only 6 persons out of the 15 who are working full time are legally registered as employed. We are giving them the salaries, but we cannot afford paying the taxes on the salaries. The taxes on the salaries are about 75% of the salary. According to Macedonian law we must have at least 8 people registered as employed. For the time being we do not have problems concerning this, but sooner or later we will have to register as employed at least two more persons.

Because of theses problems, we are not in a position to keep working only with the incomes that we have from the commercials and advertising and we have to look for other sources, which will help us for improving the TV station's situation.

  • MAIN GOAL OF THE PROJECT

Our main goal is to continue working as a Roma TV station and to broadcast programs in Romani language for the Roma people in Macedonia, but we will have to improve the quality of the program. We will have to solve all the above-mentioned problems in order to be in a position to dedicate ourselves completely to improving the broadcast program.

  • DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT

The balance of the budget for the year 2000 reveals a positive financial working. This, however, is because of the fact that last year we have received certain grants related with the TV station's working.

Last year we have received a grant from OSI Foundation for covering the rent for TV BTR Nacional's studio and offices and for covering the salaries and the taxes on salaries for 6 persons who are legally registered as employed in the TV station. Therefore, from this grant the rent for the studio and offices is paid 1 year in advance and it covers the rent for the first 9 months of 2001, while the salaries are covered for the first 8 months of 2001. Beside this we have not received any direct donation from any other foundation.

According to the planned budget for fiscal year 2001 (which in Macedonia is the same as the calendar year) we will depend more on foundations compared to the previous year.

There are two reasons for this. One is that last year was an election year and we had additional incomes from broadcasting paid political programs. This year there are no elections in Macedonia, so we will not have these additional incomes. The second reason is the commercial musical program that TV BTR Nacional is broadcasting, which is very popular among our audience on the one hand, but on the other is very unpopular and highly un-recommended by the Macedonian Broadcasting Council. The incomes from the commercial musical program will be cut down on a minimum this year in order not to have any legal problems with the authorized Government bodies.

Another problem is the lack of DVCAM equipment. As was mentioned before, we only have one DVCAM video camera and one DVCAM video recorder, which is certainly not enough. TV BTR Nacional at the moment has two SVSH video cameras and 1 DVCAM video camera. These three cameras are at the same time studio cameras and cameras for field. This is a further problem, as we are not able to cover everything that is going on and that is interesting for our audience. Therefore, we have to invest as much as we can in purchasing DVCAM equipment in order to keep up with the competition among the other media, and to be in a position to broadcast more quality programs.

According to the planned budget for this year the advertisements and commercials will not cover the outcomes related with the work of the TV station. The TV station will have to find donors who will support the TV station financially.

 

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